School perseverance

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School perseverance

84.3% of Montreal students obtained a diploma in 2021.

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Definition | School perseverance indicator | Graduation rate rising in MontrealChanges in graduation rate | Every student who perseveres…

*Last updated: November 1, 2021

Definition of school perseverance

In its strictest sense, school perseverance simply means staying in school until one earns a high school diploma or qualification. In order to persevere, students must find enough value in school:

  •  to feel motivated and want to apply themselves,
  • to feel confident they are succeeding along a path that is adapted to their abilities and aspirations,
  • to fit the demands of school in with other aspects of their lives.

The determinants of school perseverance are factors that influence students’ educational experience, and they have been identified and described by many scientific studies. If they have a positive influence on students and tend to promote perseverance, they are deemed protective factors. Examples include motivation and engagement, self-esteem, parental supervision, school climate, and community resources.

School perseverance indicator: rate of graduation and qualification

The indicator selected to quantify school perseverance and success is the rate of graduation and qualification.

Calculated 5, 6, and 7 years after a new cohort of students starts Secondary I, the rate of graduation and qualification is the proportion of youth who have obtained a high school diploma (DES), a vocational diploma (DEP), or a qualification (training certificate in a semiskilled trade or prework training certificate).This rate is the primary tracking indicator for graduation and qualification.


  • The indicator used throughout this site, unless otherwise indicated, is the rate at which an initial diploma is achieved after a maximum of 7 years of study in the public system.
  • The rate is calculated annually by the ministère de l’Éducation.
  • It is available by administrative region, by school board, by public or private system, and for the entire province.
  • Caution: another indicator must be used when making comparisons with the rates of other provinces or OECD countries.

For graduation rates by region, details about calculation methods, and other information, please visit the government’s website. (French only)

Graduation rate: on the rise in Montreal

Montreal’s graduation rate has risen from 67.7% in 2009 to 84.3% in 2021.

This increase is a reflection of the work of teachers and school administrations, along with hundreds of organizations and stakeholders who provide unending support for families and youth in their efforts to succeed. And while we should celebrate this progress, much work remains to be done, because many young people still leave school before getting a high school diploma.

It is of paramount importance to take the specific context and challenges of Montreal into account when planning effective actions to promote school perseverance.

Changes in graduation rate

2009 67.7%
2012 72.5%
2013 73.4%
2014 76%
2015 78.1%
2016 79.8%
2017 81.4%
2018 82.3%
2019 82.8%
2020 83.3%
2021 84,3 %

Source: Ministère de l’Éducation, Diplomation et qualification par commission scolaire au secondaire – 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 editions.

Students who persevere and graduate:

  • will have better living conditions, a longer life expectancy, and more fulfilling achievements.
  • create a cumulative economic benefit to society of $184,000 over their lifetimes.
  • help maintain a stable labour market (ensuring vital jobs for Montreal’s economy).
  • contribute to the creation of a vibrant society (e.g., by voting, volunteering, or donating blood).